Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Don Draper Would Punch You In The Face If He Heard You Talk Like That

I have a book coming out. I’m trying not to be obnoxious about it, but this blog is about my life as a writer. And right now that life is consumed by my novel. I’m self-publishing, and those of you who’ve gone that route know what it’s like to realize just how much you have to do to get a book ready for primetime, so to speak, and then wake up the next morning and realize there’s about a hundred more things you have to do that you hadn’t even though of. So forgive me if I keep bringing it up.

don-draper-imageThis week’s anxiety-sponsored ramblings revolve around everyone’s favorite part of the writing process: marketing.* Is there anyone out there who got into writing with the lifelong dream of platform building and putting together a market strategy? If there are, God bless you, but for me, it’s been the most stressful part of the process. I’ve been mulling over the options: a grassroots blog-based campaign, a subtle “coming-soon” style buzz-builder, maybe even hiring a professional. Right now, I’m considering possibly the most revolutionary of all marketing strategies:

Not marketing at all.

Why do we do this? Writing, I mean. What’s the drive, the endgame? Is it the money? There’s lots of easier and quicker ways to make money. Is it to be read? Maybe. But why? Is it because a book isn’t really complete until someone reads it, or is it so people can tell you how great you are? I’ll be honest: I’d love to hear people tell me how great I am while cashing checks with more zeros than the Republican primary field. But is that what drives me? No.

Somewhere in the universe, there’s at least one person who’s going to buy my book (or borrow it, or pirate it, whatever) and who’s going to fall madly in love with it. I’m not saying it’s great; she may be the only person in the world who even likes it, who even buys a copy, but for whatever reason, she’ll love it. That’s who I’m writing for.**

I don’t need a glossy ad campaign or a marketing strategy design to penetrate every last corner of the web. If this elusive reader exists, and I’m sure she*** does, then the book’ll find her, or she’ll find it. She might even feel she “discovered” it.

And that’s fine by me.

*seriously, where’s that sarcasm font?

**this sentence is so blatantly incorrect, I know, but the alternative is, “That’s for whom I’m writing.” And who wants to read that shit?

*** or ‘he’. Just trying to keep it simple.


  1. Some established authors say that the best form of marketing is to write another book. For writers like us, still not far in our careers, I think more promotion is necessary. At the minimum, let us know when and where it's available and what it's about. Good luck; I hope you find many readers who love your book!

  2. I've also read what Sandra's talking about. Keep writing, build a fan base etc.

    Also self-publishing-it is difficult. I only have so many hours in a day and it's hard to know where to spend it. I have been pretty much off-line for three days while I learned Photoshop. My head hurts, my shoulders ache but damn it - I now know how to use it... sort of.

    Good luck on your book!

  3. First of all, congrats on completing and publishing your book. That in and of itself is something to be proud of.

    Although the marketing side of publishing does not appeal to me, I realize it is a necessary evil if I want to eek out a living as a writer. Publishers want books that will sell. The only way to accomplish this is to get out there and create a buzz.

    Don't get me wrong, I totally understand what you are saying here. Us authors write because we love the craft, we must create. However, after all the hours of toiling over a story, it is nice to receive validation of it's worth. It is nice to know that some stranger, a person who does not feel obligated to praise our work, enjoyed the fruits of our labor. That is the highest reward. Money is second to it.

    However, how will we find that reader, or the converse, if he or she is not aware our work is out there? There's only one way, my friend---advertising.

    Good luck with your book. Let me know when it's due for release and I will purchase it.

  4. Hi, I found you through the IWSG.

    Good luck with the book. Having to do all the promotion myself is what's putting me off self publishing. I'll be interested to see how you get on.

  5. Hi - I enjoyed your open heretical approach. I must admit to being squeamish about all the self pub and marketing. I never network without feeling that I'm gonna be arrested for friend abuse. I write Romance because it's giving some kind of substance to my fantasy life, not for kudos or cash. Let me know when your book is out there. I will buy it. Good luck.

  6. Love the Groucho quote, also groovy blog:)

  7. Jumped over here from Alex's blog. Good post on the foggy world of publishing. If you can, hook up with someone who loves marketing. That's what I did. She worries about all that stuff, and I can focus on the creative work. She's brilliant at publicity. I am not.

  8. Marketing is the thorn in our collective side. I'm sure your book will be successful. Good luck, though!

    From Diary of a Writer in Progress.

  9. hey hope ur well
    i am back into blogging with thought i should touch base and say hello to everyone who i used to follow and who followed me back! love.
    passionate wellness seeker :)

  10. I may be old. Oh heck I am old, but I think what I know for sure is that there is a shit part of every job. And it is usally marketing unless of course you are a Don Draper type and then it must be something else. I used to be a pr hack and now I try and get it going for my own stuff. Weird but true and your endgame sounds just about right to me.